Illustrating Fashion with Christina Zimpel

01.04.2019 | Art , Blog , Fashion | BY:

Broad strokes, dense colour, a sense of positive circularity to her work – Christina Zimpel is an artist of a wonderfully bold disposition. Being an Australian in New York City, her work has lifted the pages of Vogue Australia to the SS19 handbags (and set design) of Michael
Kors. There is a natural magnetism to her illustrations, often heavily centred around reinterpretations of the runway or figures of fashion. Christina breaks down familiar catwalk looks into bright colour comparisons of ink and gouache (think green against pink, red beside baby blue), or almost-Surrealistic monochrome, creating confident combinations.
Large almond eyes are bestowed on her interpretations, and for all the magnetism of their form and colour, look out with a gentleness: a reflection of the artist? May Christina Zimpel’s illustrative hand continue: she creates illustrations that lift the page through colour and composition.

What do you do for fun, what’s your favourite colour?

For fun I eat and garden and go for walks. My favourite colour is currently
a mossy green. 

What were you good at in school, what were you not so good at?

I enjoyed history and art and creative writing. I did not pay enough attention to maths and biology.

Who were you favourite bands growing up? Who do you listen to these days?
I like the same bands today as I did growing up… Bowie, Roxy Music, Kraftwerk, Prince, Miles Davis, The Clash, Joy Division etc etc. all really great to work to. And my son Lil Jabba!

How did you get into art and illustration?
I got into art by suddenly deciding I wanted to draw – so I drew everything I could see around me every day for a couple of years and shared the results on Instagram. Illustration commissions started coming due to that. In the past it might have been harder to get my foot in the door. However, now I have an audience and some great people saw something interesting in me and gave me work which is wonderful!

Describe a day in your life .
I am quite boring especially in winter when I barely leave the house! I work at home so I am up and working at the kitchen table. I can multi task as the dishwasher and stove are close to my brushes and paints. In the summer I get to go outside and do a bit of gardening or walk around my neighbourhood if I need a break.

Your work appears to be shaped greatly by blocks of colour: does colour or form come first for you when you start a piece?
When I’m painting, colour is an important starting point. I have a definite palette and love to work within those parameters. My colour choices come from distant memories when I became really conscious of my surroundings. The sixties pop colours, the clarity of bright reds and greens and pink my mother loved. They form my landscapes. With illustrations I tend to be influenced by the subject matter be it fashion or narratives. Using very bright colours is tricky so I add banal colours to balance them, otherwise you’d get a headache.

Do you doodle?
I love to doodle! That is something I’ve always done.

You are from Perth yet currently reside in New York: do aspects of either Australia or New York enter your work?
Definitely- Australia is a land of bright clear colours and I like the uplifting feelings it gives me, it ties in with the Fauvist paintings I love so much.
New York really gives me so much love for humanity… so many people all the time all living their lives right in front of you. It really comes out in my work – observations of people’s expressions, body language, the heaviness of life.

Does your mind drift as you draw or does drawing help your mind drift?
I have always been the anxious type. Drawing is the best help I’ve found to drift away from my thoughts and tune out the chatter. It makes me live in the moment.  In the UK, the government is increasingly moving focus away from the arts, leaving a potential massive gap in young people’s education of art.

How important is art to you?
When you are exposed to the arts there is something each person will find interesting or beautiful or earth shattering amongst it. All people should get the opportunity to open up their world and find their own creativity or passions. It shouldn’t be a luxury.

You have worked with the likes of the CFDA, Maison Kitsune and Michael Kors: what role has collaboration played in your career?
I was really lucky to work with some iconic brands in 2018. I had the opportunity to draw portraits, landscapes and create brand identities. I had my first merchandise produced – totes and phone cases and T-shirt’s, as well as beautiful look books and interactive displays. It’s been really exciting and it’s giving me hope that I can grow exponentially, and be collaborative, not just work in a bubble.

What was the last thing that made you excited?
The whole thing- I did not see any of this coming!

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Patterns & Prints with Jessica Russell Flint

16.08.2016 | Art | BY:

Merging classic British heritage themes with vibrant colours and statement designs, London-based designer, Jessica Russell Flint loves nothing more than vivid and eccentric prints. Initially studying Geography, Flint then went onto attend Central St. Martins to explore her creative side. It seems the change has done her good, as her label – which consists of home wears and accessories from scarfs to eye masks – is now available in over 40 stockists. We meet with Jessica to talk about her background and love for colour.

When and what was the catalyst for your decision to study at Central St. Martins?
I worked in advertising originally for about eight years, and whilst I loved the environment and the people, I was always frustrated about being creatively unfulfilled. A lot of it was keeping clients happy and so much of the process was broken down by other people’s decision making. I was always drawing on the side, my family are all very creative and I grew up with pens and paper instead of toys for entertainment.

I decided to do an illustration course at St. Martins on the side to understand more of the technical aspect of the design process. When I finished there I began blogging my prints, and people started to buy them from me. So I set up a website and went from there. Slowly I introduced products featuring the art I had created and the brand started forming. I did my first tradeshow in 2014 and it went well. Initially going from selling cards in Paperchase to stocking ranges in the Conran shop, Harrods and Wolf & Badger. It’s really satisfying to see where I’ve come over the years and how the style is continually developing.

make-up bag

How would you describe your style?
Scratchy! Brightly coloured. Illustration mixed with pattern.

Does London play a part in influencing your style?
Definitely. We live and work in East London and the people this side of town are definitely not shy in expressing themselves. From the graffiti to the urban dress and little boutiques and bars, it’s definitely a place to pick up ideas!

Where do you find your inspirations?
All the time, everywhere, from magazines, antiques (especially those old pieces of China with illustrations and etchings), statues and old books. They are amazing for getting new ideas. I love Pinterest for patterns and how to style shoots. Holidays help! Often relaxing somewhere I will feel inspired for a new design.

Who are your favourite illustrators?
Egon Shiele is one of my favourite artists in the whole world, he’s more an artist than an illustrator but his style is very illustrative and his lines are so beautiful.

Do you have any new offerings in store?
We’ve just launched quite a few new products from tech cases to umbrellas and cashmere. But we are so excited about the launch of our new bag range, which will be part of our SS17 resort collection. We are shooting this next weekend at the Clerkenwell London (boutique and restaurant) and we have a great team of stylists and models. Very excited to launch this range in the New Year!

Where can we buy?
Currently we stock in over 40 boutiques and shops in the UK. Aside from our website our biggest stockists are Harrods, Hoopers and the Conran shop. But we’ve got some great new stockists from January.

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16.04.2012 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

What do you get when two young creative women, call together their friends to contribute to a zine dissecting what it is to be creative and female? The answer is teenVAG, a zine that explores coming of age, beauty and the body from a firmly feminine viewpoint. Confounding stereotypes and creating new imagery that fits their own feelings, Twin spoke to Natasha and Allison about teenVAG…

Where did the name teenVAG come from?
The name “teenVAG” is rooted in yesteryear conversation with an especially dear group of friends- we often threw around the word “pussy.”  Coincidentally, we all previously held internships at Condé Nast.

What thoughts preoccupy you as artists and how is teenVAG a conduit for them?
There are infinite forms of expressions. Collectively, the constant desire to create has fuelled our greatest artistic ventures and our initiative enables these visions to come into fruition. We are constantly developing ideas, themes, and insights while cultivating a unique rapport with an incredibly talented group of our contemporaries. teenVAG has allowed us to create an evolving, communal space we share amongst our featured artists and audience.

Why did you feel the need to form a female collective of artists?
New York is a super hub of creatives. The artists we worked with on Issue # 1 inspired the idea of an all female project- they set the groundwork for the basis of the project. The progression of Issue # 2 continues to foster a strong voice and female presence we feel most necessary amongst the creative community.

Why is a zine still an effective way of communicating ideas in the era of blogs, tumblrs etc?
It is tangible- there is physical contact with our audience. The viewer experiences the artist’s work without interruption and becomes a part of the collective dialogue taking place. The zine becomes a perpetual vehicle of communication that can always be revisited. In our digital age it offers a slight sense of nostalgia and a quiet escape from the fast paced nature of the information super-highway.


Who are the other female artists involved in the zine?
We work with twelve artists each issue- a mix of friends, acquaintances and artists we admire. Issue # 1 focused on the basis of photography and featured the work of Nina Hartmann, Sandy Kim, Maggie Lee, Nicole Lesser, Kathy Lo, Katheryn Love, Luisa Opalesky, Logan White, Coco Young, and Nadriah Zakariya.

Issue # 2 encompasses several mediums ranging from sculpture, to illustration, painting and mixed media as well as the inclusion of photography. Issue # 2 features work by Aimee Brodeur, Elizabeth Jaeger, Olivia Locher, Carly Mark, Katie Miller, Anamaria Morris, Sophie Van der Perre, Rebecca Andrea Richard, Tara Sinn, Brooke Ellen Taylor, Alexandra Velasco, and Jessica Williams.

What, if any, obstacles do female artists still face?
teenVAG: When initially reaching out to print teenVAG Issue # 1, a business denied carrying out the job due to “explicit sexual content,” “pornographic”  imagery, and a questionable title. Female artists face connotations that are inherently attached to their art due to gender- we want to break that stigma.

Where is the zine available?
The zine is available on our online shop as well as a selection of stockists in NY, LA and TX. For a full list of stockists check out our website

What’s next?
We are planning our second show for May of this year- it will be a collective exhibition surveying the work of artists we have been working with for the past year. In the coming months we will begin the conceptualisation of teenVAG Issue # 3 due out in September 2012.

We’ll also be doing a collaborative selection of pop-up shows and mini-events throughout the summer- we are very excited to continue working with an amazing network of creatives and hope to expand teenVAG to its fullest potential



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Into the wild

02.11.2009 | Art , Blog | BY:

While we wait for the release of the film Where The Wild Things Are, which is based on Maurice Sendak’s book of the same name, check out the ‘Sendak in Soho’ exhibition in New York. This is the largest ever show and sale of original etchings, illustrations and even sculpture from the author’s collection. “They hold a place in my heart almost too dear for me to part with it,” says Sendak. “But now feels like the perfect time.” As we speak, the gallery’s co-owner Heidi Leigh is off to Maurice’s house to collect the original wolf-suit costume from the film, and to go in search of a mannequin to display it on. Any volunteers?

‘Sendak in Soho’ runs until January 2010 at the Animazing Gallery, 54 Greene St., NYC 10013

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Talent Watch: Alice Moloney

30.10.2009 | Art , Blog | BY:

Who: Alice Moloney, 22, London
What: Illustrator
Where: Royal College of Art

Alice says: “This watercolour portrait (pictured) is from a series entitled ’10 til 3′. It’s based on a week spent at Newent House Day Centre for the elderly. My final degree show piece is based on criminals. I like the fact that you can never tell who really is evil, and who isn’t, just by looking at mug shots. Some of the characters look completely innocent, but they’re not.”

Influences: Marlene Dumas and Uwe Wittwer.

Obsession: Collecting unicorns, vintage glasses and old photographs from car-boot sales.

Projects: Illustrating a set of commissioned books; one of which is based on the county of Middlesex.

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